Today we would love to highlight our first MOM Art Annex Resident for the beginning of summer 2021, the absolutely amazing and wonderful returning resident Jessica Soininen-Eddis. MOM was ecstatic to once again open up our residency program as things began to slowly open here in the U.S.A. We could not have asked to start off on a better note after having Jessica return to continue her artistic practice at our museum and provide us with another wonderful gift. Stay tuned as below she allows us to learn about her creative process and discusses her artistic trajectory in reference to our new artwork by her in our collection.
Those of you who keep up with us regularly on our social media channels know about this talented artist and the previous piece of work which she gifted us in her earlier spring residency while she was here in 2018 – a beautiful mid-century modern chair painted with her own art vision, which is on view at our museum when we reopen for tours. In Soininen-Eddis’s second residency, she continued to expand on a body of work in which she painted botanical subject matter on top of her daughter’s old garments. Additionally, Founder and Director of M.O.M. Martha Joy Rose suggested she paint on a couch that was available to pair with the chair she previously painted. For the couch, Soininen-Eddis wanted to create a more overt depiction of the female form at its core. Therefore, she decided the specific part of the female form she would focus on depicting would be the vulva.
Though for some of us, this may seem a daunting task, Soininen-Eddis was up for the challenge. She has much experience in creating artworks related to the body, as she has done so since her undergraduate studies at Rhode Island School for Design (RISD). When asked about her artistic trajectory, she specifically referenced her time in Rome, Italy as part of RISD’s European Honors Program. While there, she created a piece of wearable art. In the mixed-media piece, she constructed breasts from hand-sewn bubble wrap, wax, and flour. Each individual breast was able to be snapped on and off of the garment, as her thoughts at the time when developing it were “What’s the big deal? Grandmothers, mothers, sisters have them.” Such rationalization led her to the conclusion that the same could be said for vulvas.
Though considered a taboo in the not so recent past, vulvas, and other overt physical attributes of what define women and fundamental components of women’s sexuality commingle in many cross-cultural forms of female-centered art. Depictions show direct and indirect representations of the female associated with sensuality of the female form, fertility, the power of women, temptations of the female form-the list goes on. Despite this fact, the female form in and of itself, has standard physical attributes that women have, and Soininen-Eddis wanted to celebrate the form as seen in her work Lost In the Folds (seen below). In recounting her process, Soininen-Eddis admitted that though she has painted numerous womb implied artworks with a central core before, this was the first time she had painted an anatomically correct vulva. The couch itself follows the artistic lineage of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Soininen-Eddis is proud to have created this work for exhibition at the Museum of Motherhood, to share it with her daughter and hopeful that students who care about women’s rights as human rights and gender studies will take something special from its creation.
More info on Jessica Soininen-Eddis
In her current artistic practice, she uses worn items of feminine clothing, both her’s and her daughter’s, and then pastes them into her paintings. Soininen-Eddis applies many layers of paint to these fabric pieces so that the fabric becomes sculptural. The clothes are no longer pieces of fashion. They are now relics, which hint at the past even if it is a recent past. Garments, lingerie, intimate pieces of apparel, children’s pajamas and dresses float around flowers and botany. The flowers, just like the items of clothing, reference sensuality. When she collages paper, it covers the page just as cloth to the body. Bodily shapes and lyrical gestures commingle in her paintings and works on paper. Jessica Soininen-Eddis is a contemporary visual artist living and working outside New York City in Northern Westchester County. Soininen-Eddis received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI. While there, she was selected to study abroad as part of RISD’s European Honors Program, and spent the year living, studying and making art in Rome. Soininen-Eddis also received her Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. To learn more about Jessica and her incredible art, please check out this link to her personal website: https://bit.ly/3fQi5yT
Also be sure to follow her on Instagram: @jsoininen_eddis
If you are interested in applying for a residency here at MOM, please go to our website HERE: https://bit.ly/3uRgugm to find out more. BE SURE TO HURRY! Spots have been filling FAST! We hope that future tours of the space will be available soon, but they are by appointment only in Artist Enclave Historic Kenwood: “where art lives.”